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The Cowboys face extra pressure to beat the Giants on Sunday with Ezekiel Elliott playing

Okay, Zeke’s playing on Sunday so the Cowboys better make it count.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Waiting for any definitive answer on what is going on with the Ezekiel Elliott case is like going to the DMV and waiting in line for hours only to be told they are closing when it’s your turn. “Come back tomorrow” they say, only tomorrow’s a holiday weekend so you’ll have to wait a few more days.

In this case, we’ll all be coming back on Friday. As our own Dave Halprin reported - Zeke’s suspension has been upheld, however he’s still able to play this weekend against the New York Giants. On Friday, there should be news on whether Elliott’s suspension will take effect starting in Week 2 or whether he’ll be granted a restraining order from the courts that will allow him to continue to suit up for the Cowboys.

While things are still wildly up in the air, there is one thing we know for sure - Elliott will be available in a crucial season opener against the Giants. It’s a big game. The Cowboys had 13 different opponents last season and the Giants are the only one they couldn’t beat. The Giants beat the Cowboys last year in the opener and then Dallas would run off 11 straight wins, only to lose to the Giants the next time they faced off. The Cowboys need to get that monkey off their back and losing to them a third straight time could start messing with their psyche.

But the Cowboys have the mental fortitude to deal with any innermost self-doubt that could creep in. That’s a story line the media can have fun with. What is real though is dropping a game behind the team that is supposed to be the Cowboys biggest threat in the division. Those things sting a little. And any time they get a divisional loss it could come back and work against them later in a tie-breaker situation.

Having Elliott around for this game is a big break for the Cowboys on the field as the Giants defense is bound to give them fits. With Zeke in the backfield, that alleviates a lot of pressure off of Dak Prescott. No offense to Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris, but defenses don’t have to game plan the same way they do when they are the running back versus Elliott. Zeke’s been practicing like he’s going to play all along so he should be ready for action. And if word comes out on Friday that he’s going to have a lengthy layoff after this first game, the Cowboys will be free to ride their star running back all night. It wouldn’t be shocking to seem him get on the north side of 25 touches when it’s all said and done. There’s no point in saving him for the next week. He’s basically got a six-week bye coming up.

If Friday brings about the news that Elliott will have to start serving his suspension, he would then miss the following games:

  • Week 2 - @ Denver
  • Week 3 - @ Arizona
  • Week 4 - Los Angeles Rams
  • Week 5 - Green Bay
  • Week 6 - Bye
  • Week 7 - @ San Francisco
  • Week 8 - @ Washington

With a one-game skip card being placed on the Giants, the Cowboys are essentially swapping out their Zeke-less game for the Game against the Redskins in Week 8. The pressure will be on them to take advantage of Zeke’s presence with a win.